100 Best Novels

Thanks to Restless Reader (i.e. Molly), I found Time Magazine’s All-Time 100 Best Novels (published after 1923).

Of the 100, I have read 17… not too bad, but not great either. But then again, these lists are sorta silly and whatnot anyway. I have read:

  • Animal Farm
  • Beloved
  • The Blind Assassin
  • The Catcher in the Rye
  • The Corrections
  • The Crying of Lot 49
  • Gravity’s Rainbow
  • The Great Gatsby
  • The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Mrs. Dalloway
  • Neuromancer
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Slaughterhouse-Five
  • Things Fall Apart
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • White Noise

I am surprised to see that two Thomas Pynchon books (Gravity’s Rainbow and The Crying of Lot 49) were on the list. Gravity’s Rainbow is a great read, but it’s also one of the most difficult books I’ve ever read and not very accessible. Does that make it one of the best books? I’m not sure.

I cannot think of any books that I would add to the list. My favorite book, Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis is hardly a “best” book — I love it because it’s a fun read more than anything else.

Nonetheless, these lists are always fun and it’s neat to compare what I’ve read compared with what I “should” read in order to consider myself a well-read person. I will say, there are a few books I’m embarrassed that I haven’t read: Catch-22 (which I own but haven’t read), Infinite Jest (which I own and have started reading twice but have given up both times), Invisible Man, Lolita (which, again, I own, but haven’t read), 1984 (which I always forget that I need to read), and Tropic if Cancer. Now I have ideas for next time I need books!

One thought on “100 Best Novels

  1. Okay, so Judy Blume made this list and not James Joyce? I call bullshit. And Wide Sargasso Sea but not Jane Eyre? For the most part, these seem to be pretty “safe” choices with a few “Hey, we’re hip!” choices thrown in. How are The Berlin Stories here and not, I don’t know, DUBLINERS? The BERLIN freaking Stories? I have read Isherwood and he is boring and not very…literary if that tracks. Man, it would take me all day to go through each and every one of my objections here, but that would be an entry for my own blog. I’m also a little offended at the disproportionate amount of women’s lit here.

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